Why You Accidentally Ruin Your Relationships, Based On Your Love Language

Words Of Affirmation

You send good morning texts the second you rise from your sleep. You say I love you with zero hesitation. You brag to your friends about how you’ve found the perfect person for you. You are always talking about how much you like your person, but words aren’t enough. You have to follow through on what you say. Your actions need to match your voice. Telling someone you want to spend the weekend together or take a vacation upstate doesn’t actually mean anything if you back out of plans when the time comes. You have to keep your promises. You have to prove that your word means something.

Quality Time

When you like someone, you want to spend as much time with them as possible. You text them from morning until night. You invite them over every weekend. You expect to see them whenever you find free time in your schedule. Sometimes, without even realizing what you’re doing, you suffocate people. You make them feel like they aren’t allowed to hang out with their own friends and need to check in with you constantly. Sometimes, they will even feel like you don’t trust them. Like you keep such close tabs on them because you’re worried they are up to something. That miscommunication can put a strain on the relationship.

Receiving Gifts

You might not show someone your burning love for them on a daily basis, but when the holidays come around, you are the best gift giver in town. You show your affection by spending hours browsing through websites for a present that fits them perfectly. Because of that, some people mistakenly believe that you are materialistic. Shallow. That you only care about money. They don’t look close enough at your presents to see how sentimental they are, how much thought you put into them. They wish you would show your love through your daily actions instead of only through material items on special occasions.

Acts Of Service

You will buy groceries for someone who is low on cash. You will drive miles to pick someone up at the airport. You will risk getting in trouble at work to answer important texts. When it comes down to it, you’re too nice. You go out of your way to help people before they even ask and end up getting walked over. That’s why, sometimes, you feel like you’re already in a relationship when you’re not. You get invested in people, you try to save people, and find yourself in yet another almost relationship.

Physical Touch

You love holding hands while you walk. Resting a hand on their thigh beneath the table. Cuddling during movie dates. Getting touchy underneath the covers. Since you are so hands-on, some people mistakenly believe you are only interested in physical intimacy. They question whether you really like them or whether you are only using them as a warm body to press up against while you sleep. They need reassurance that you like their personality, too. That you aren’t only with them because you’re lonely and would get close to anyone who offered their affection.

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From Thought Catalog by Holly Riordan

Why Surprises Will Never Get Old

My partner knows I love anything sweet so it was such a surprise to see him pull out two boxes of chocolate cupcakes and butterscotch fudge from the passengers’ seat as soon as I sat in his car. It was just unexpected and it really made a difference in changing my week! (I had been working extra HARD!) It was a small gesture that radiated with so much thoughtfulness, which I’ve been told tend to be rare in long term relationships. Has being thoughtful become so underrated?

It got me thinking of my clients and friends who share that their significant others have become complacent after dating for awhile. And I always tell them that this isn’t a problem (unless you make it to be) but it does make a world of a difference in keeping the spark alive. The little things go a long way in securing happiness. Taken together, it gives you a little something more to live for.

To me, when you do little surprises for your partner (it doesn’t have to be grand), it gives the message that when you’re apart, (or even when you’re together), you’re thinking of him/ her. It’s a win win situation because the receiver has an opportunity to show his/her appreciation towards such a pleasant act. The real problem in most relationships, especially coming from the men, is that they complain that their wives aren’t appreciative enough. This is usually the reason why they seem not to care anymore. It’s a sad situation but it doesn’t mean that it can’t be fixed!

All it takes is a little bit of creativity and thoughtfulness to bring joy to your relationship again. Pay attention to what your significant other likes and doesn’t like. I have a friend who is terrified of clowns. When her husband sees a clown walking or if he sees a clown trailer/movie coming up on TV, he covers her eyes or leads her the other way. It’s a simple gesture, but it shows that your partner that you feel he/she matters. If she likes chocolates… get them for her. If she likes wine… get her a bottle to drink at the end of a long day. (The wine is always a good idea! Trust me). No matter who is pleasing or surprising who, don’t forget to show your appreciation at the end of the day!

xoxo,

Cristine

On Ending Your Relationship by Christmas

Has something about your relationship changed? Can you put your finger on what it is? Sometimes it’s obvious: perhaps your partner has cheated on you or their behaviour has become unacceptable, which makes it clear to you that the relationship needs to end. Other times, it’s more a subtle shift in the way you feel, which has happened over a period of time and you find yourself questioning whether you can really see yourself with them long term. It’s often the latter situation which is the hardest to deal with and can come as a surprise to your partner when you tell them it’s over.

When I trained to be a relationship counsellor, I was told the key in any relationship is communication. Good communication generally leads to good relationships, poor communication will likely lead to a poor relationship. We often avoid communicating how we feel for fear of hurting our partner’s feelings, feeling guilty or not wanting to deal with potential confrontation. So, we ‘drift’ on and for a while it seems ok. Nothing bad is happening, but nothing good is happening either.

Then a significant event, or significant time of the year is approaching and the quality of our relationship comes into view again. You may start asking yourself: Do I really want to spend Christmas with them, pretending everything is ok when it’s not? What about New Year’s Eve? Do I want to celebrate seeing the New Year in with them, when I know that I’m just about to dump them?

So, is there ever a good time to end a relationship? I don’t think there is a straightforward answer to that question. For myself, I would rather know that it’s over, than find myself questioning and reflecting afterward, whether they only stayed with me out of pity. Some however, would say that it’s cruel to break up just before Christmas, as it would spoil it for everyone. Whenever you choose, it’s never going to be easy. Breaking up is painful and emotional for both parties. There can be regret, sadness and guilt.

If you are considering ending your relationship before the festive season there are a few questions to ask yourself first:

1. Why did you fall in love with your partner in the first place?

Figure out if there are remnants of those feelings that can be rekindled if you focus on them.

2. Has the ‘love light’ switched off?

I think that love is like a pilot light, sometimes it is strong and vivid and you can clearly see it glowing. Sometimes it is low and subtle, but still burning. If the love light for your partner has switched off, it’s unlikely that it will switch on again.

3. Have you been sending subtle messages that your feelings have changed?

We are sending subliminal messages all the time, so perhaps your partner is far more aware than you think they are about your feelings, and it won’t be a surprise when you tell them you no longer love them.

4. What have you valued from your relationship with them?

All relationships help us learn more about ourselves and what’s important in a relationship to us. You clearly loved them once, share with them what you will always remember about the relationship, along with helping them understand what has changed and why your feelings for them have changed.

Remaining with someone when you no longer love them is unfair to them and to you. Everyone has the right to be happy and to be equally loved in a relationship. Ending a relationship is never easy, but it can be done with consideration, honesty and empathy… even if it’s just before Christmas.

What to do if you decide to break up

Rebecca McCann, a relationship therapist from Click For Therapy advises, “When you know your relationship has ended you know, and there’s very little you can do to convince yourself otherwise. The holiday season is difficult if you are in a relationship you don’t want to be in. So firstly be 100% sure that it’s what you want, otherwise if you end up getting back together this will be forever linked to Christmas.

“If you are totally sure then be honest, and think about the logistics. Think about where you will go for Christmas, what you will do, have a plan in your head before you end the relationship so that you don’t get pulled back in by logistics or your partner convincing you to stay just because its Christmas for example.

“A plan will help you to stay firm in your resolve. The other thing is make sure that you have someone you trust to spend the holidays with, this is part of being kind to yourself. You deserve to enjoy the season as much as you can, but you will need to extra TLC to do this so give yourself a break.”

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From: Cosmopolitan

Why you’re doing your relationship wrong

 

Having come from an 8 year abusive relationship, I would have to say that the one I have right now with my current squeeze is refreshing. What makes it more beautiful is that prior to its inception, I had read Neale Donald Walsh’s Conversations with God, as recommended by a friend. The words that he wrote, as he claimed were told to him by God Himself, blew my mind.

In the book, he says that WE ALL GO INTO RELATIONSHIPS FOR THE WRONG REASONS. We always ask ourselves prior to getting in one, “What can I get from this? What can he/she give me in return? What’s in it for me?” 

And if you really think about it, if this is your frame of mind, the relationship is bound to FAIL. Because if you keep asking yourself what’s in it for you, you’re bound to have EXPECTATIONS. You want the person to be perfect. You want him/her to fulfill all your needs and wants etc. etc.

But what if he/she doesn’t? Then what?

Then you get disappointed. Then you start throwing a tantrum. Then the fights start.

In the book, Walsh says that we have to go into the relationship telling ourselves “Okay, this is the person that I want. And this is the love that I have to give. I am going into this relationship because I have all this love that I want to share.

It sounds pretty simple, but it spells a world of a difference!

When you have such a positive perspective and you think about love as something you GIVE and not something THAT HAS TO BE GIVEN TO YOU, you create a partnership. You create a real bond that’s not always looking for a return on investment. 

I got involved with my ex-boyfriend at the age of 19 and we were together till I turned 26. Looking back, it was silly of me to have been involved with someone so seriously because those were my developing years. I was so determined to marry him even though he would treat me badly. (Thank God I dodged that bullet!) But at the time, I forged on because in my head, “I’ve gone this far, I can’t give up now!” This resulted in many years of depression and loneliness, even though I was attached. I was waiting for my return on investment.

And when I didn’t get it, I was at a dead end.

There I was expecting that he would change. But he never did.

I learned later on that the kind of love I was giving him even when I was unhappy wasn’t love at all. I felt like a vendor who didn’t get paid. It felt like I was staying because he was indebted to me.

Fast forward to years later and after having read that life changing book, I now know better. Love now has become more of a want rather than a need. I want to be with him because I love him. Because I have all this love to give and he deserves it. I don’t mind if he doesn’t reply back within 5 minutes of receiving my text because  he may be driving. Before, I would dramatize scenarios in my head that the reason why he may not be replying was because he didn’t love me. But now, it feels so light to love this way. When you love and love and love and you don’t care about your return on investment. It just feels good to give it away. Now that infamous Bible quote really makes sense.

[“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.- 1 Corinthians 13:4-8]

I know what you’re thinking. How can I stop myself from expecting from him/her? If you think that this perspective is so one-sided, because it’s human nature to always look for how a situation can help you…

Then it’s simple. It isn’t love. It’s love that you seek from someone else but only you can give yourself.

What you have may not be love at all (in the complete sense of the word), but attention.

Before you enter a relationship, I think that it is vital that you are completely whole and that you completely love all parts of yourself before you can give it away. That sounds cliche but it makes the most sense when you think about it this way.

Your partner shouldn’t be the one having to call you beautiful all the time or singing you praises all the time. If he/she can’t, then let it go. Give it to yourself. The things that you expect him/her to do, do it for yourself. Do your best to fill all the voids so that way you won’t have to NEED anyone. And it would feel TEN TIMES MORE AMAZING to feel that you WANT to be with this person.

I have made this mindset my advocacy to share it with anyone who will listen. Believe me, that it makes a HUGE difference in how you perceive everything. If you’re reading this, I hope this post changes your life somehow.

xoxo,

Cristine

Phubbing: the #1 Habit Killing Relationships

Phubbing is the practice of snubbing others in favor of our mobile phones. We’ve all been there, as either victim or perpetrator. We may no longer even notice when we’ve been phubbed (or are phubbing), it has become such a normal part of life. However, research studies are revealing the profound impact phubbing can have on our relationships and well-being.

There’s an irony in phubbing. When we’re staring at our phones, we’re often connecting with someone on social media or through texting. Sometimes, we’re flipping through our pictures the way we once turned the pages of photo albums, remembering moments with people we love. Unfortunately, however, this can severely disrupt our actual, present-moment, in-person relationships, which also tend to be our most important ones.

The research shows that phubbing isn’t harmless—but the studies to date also point the way to a healthier relationship with our phones and with each other.

 

What phubbing does to us

In a study poignantly titled, “My life has become a major distraction from my cell phone,” Meredith David and James Roberts suggest that phubbing can lead to a decline in one of the most important relationships we can have as an adult: the one with our life partner.

According to their study of 145 adults, phubbing decreases marital satisfaction, in part because it leads to conflict over phone use. The scientists found that phubbing, by lowering marital satisfaction, affected a partner’s depression and satisfaction with life. A follow-up study by Chinese scientists assessed 243 married adults with similar results: Partner phubbing, because it was associated with lower marital satisfaction, contributed to greater feelings of depression.

Phubbing also shapes our casual friendships. Not surprisingly to anyone who has been phubbed, phone users are generally seen as less polite and attentive. Let’s not forget that we are extremely attuned to people. When someone’s eyes wander, we intuitively know what brain studies also show: The mind is wandering. We feel unheard, disrespected, disregarded.

A set of studies actually showed that just having a phone out and present during a conversation (say, on the table between you) interferes with your sense of connection to the other person, the feelings of closeness experienced, and the quality of the conversation. This phenomenon is especially the case during meaningful conversations—you lose the opportunity for true and authentic connection to another person, the core tenet of any friendship or relationship.

In fact, many of the problems with mobile interaction relate to distraction from the physical presence of other people. According to these studies, conversations with no smartphones present are rated as significantly higher quality than those with smartphones around, regardless of people’s age, ethnicity, gender, or mood. We feel more empathy when smartphones are put away.

This makes sense. When we are on our phones, we are not looking at other people and not reading their facial expressions (tears in their eyes, frowns, smiles). We don’t hear the nuances in their tone of voice (was it shaky with anxiety?), or notice their body posture (slumped and sad? or excited and enthusiastic?).

No wonder phubbing harms relationships.

The way of the phubbed

What do “phubbed” people tend do?

According to a study published in March of this year, they themselves start to turn to social media. Presumably, they do so to seek inclusion. They may turn to their cell phone to distract themselves from the very painful feelings of being socially neglected. We know from brain-imaging research that being excluded registers as actual physical pain in the brain. Phubbed people in turn become more likely to attach themselves to their phones in unhealthy ways, thereby increasing their own feelings of stress and depression.

A Facebook study shows that how we interact on Facebook affects whether it makes us feel good or bad. When we use social media just to passively view others’ posts, our happiness decreases. Another study showed that social media actually makes us more lonely.

“It is ironic that cell phones, originally designed as a communication tool, may actually hinder rather than foster interpersonal connectedness,” write David and Roberts in their study, “Phubbed and Alone.” Their results suggest the creation of a vicious circle: A phubbed individual turns to social media and their compulsive behavior presumably leads them to phub others—perpetuating and normalizing the practice and problem of “phubbing.”

It is ironic that cell phones, originally designed as a communication tool, may actually hinder rather than foster interpersonal connectedness―Meredith David and James Roberts

Why do people get into the phubbing habit in the first place? Not surprisingly, fear of missing out and lack of self-control predict phubbing. However, the most important predictor is addiction—to social media, to the cell phone, and to the Internet. Internet addiction has similar brain correlates to physiological forms like addiction to heroine and other recreational drugs. The impact of this addiction is particularly worrisome for children whose brain and social skills are still under development.

Nicholas Kardaras, former Stony Brook Medicine clinical professor and author of Glow Kids, goes so far as to liken screen time to digital cocaine. Consider this: The urge to check social media is stronger than the urge for sex, according to research by Chicago University’s Wilhelm Hoffman.

These findings come as no surprise—decades of research have shown that our greatest need after food and shelter is for positive social connections with other people. We are profoundly social people for whom connection and a sense of belonging are crucial for health and happiness. (In fact, lack thereof is worse for you than smoking, high blood pressure, and obesity.) So, we err sometimes. We look for connection on social media at the cost of face-to-face opportunities for true intimacy.

How to stop phubbing people

To prevent phubbing, awareness is the only solution. Know that what drives you and others is to connect and to belong. While you may not be able to control the behavior of others, you yourself have opportunities to model something different.

Research by Barbara Fredrickson, beautifully described in her book Love 2.0, suggests that intimacy happens in micro-moments: talking over breakfast, the exchange with the UPS guy, the smile of a child. The key is to be present and mindful. A revealing study showed that we are happiest when we are present, no matter what we are doing. Can we be present with the person in front of us right now, no matter who it is?

Studies by Paula Niedenthal reveal that the most essential and intimate form of connection is eye contact. Yet social media is primarily verbal. Research conducted by scientists like the GGSC’s Dacher Keltner and others have shown that posture and the most minute facial expressions (the tightening of our lips, the crow’s feet of smiling eyes, upturned eyebrows in sympathy or apology) communicate more than our words.

Most importantly, they are at the root of empathy—the ability to sense what another person is feeling—which is so critical to authentic human connection. Research shows that altruism and compassion also make us happier and healthier, and can even lengthen our lives. True connection thrives on presence, openness, observation, compassion, and, as Brené Brown has so beautifully shared in her TED talk and her bestselling book Daring Greatly, vulnerability. It takes courage to connect with another person authentically, yet it is also the key to fulfillment.

What to do if you are phubbed

What if you are phubbed? Patience and compassion are key here. Understand that the phubber is probably not doing it with malicious intent, but rather is following an impulse (sometimes irresistible) to connect. Just like you or I, their goal is not to exclude. To the contrary, they are looking for a feeling of inclusion. After all, a telling sociological study shows that loneliness is rising at an alarming rate in our society.

What’s more, age and gender play a role in people’s reactions to phubbing. According to studies, older participants and women advocate for more restricted phone use in most social situations. Men differ from women in that they viewed phone calls as more appropriate in virtually all environments including—and this is quite shocking—intimate settings. Similarly, in classrooms, male students find phubbing far less disturbing than their female counterparts.

Perhaps even worse than disconnecting from others, however, Internet addiction and phubbing disconnect us from ourselves. Plunged into a virtual world, we hunch over a screen, strain our eyes unnecessarily, and tune out completely from our own needs—for sleep, exercise, even food. A disturbing study indicates that for every minute we spend online for leisure, we’re not just compromising our relationships, we are also losing precious self-care time (e.g., sleep, household activities) and productivity.

So, the next time you’re with another human and you feel tempted to pull out your phone—stop. Put it away. Look them in the eyes, and listen to what they have to say. Do it for them, do it for yourself, do it to make the world a better place.

 

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By:  Emma M. Seppälä